How best to manage your time…

Working in chunks! How and why…

PLUS: Save money in your eBay business: share a car, cut costs and increase your bottom line

PLUS: A big problem facing eBay trading assistants – and an easy solution

Until today I hadn’t even heard of people who work in chunks, let alone embraced the idea myself.

Then a few hours ago, when a colleague’s newsletter arrived in my email box, I learned that ‘chunk working’ is a process that works incredibly well for people with limited time to spend running their own ventures, as well as people like me who find it difficult to focus on what to do in the working day ahead.

Working in chunks! How and why…

This whole idea of working in chunks is pretty obvious really, and you start by calculating the number of hours you have available until another important matter calls you away from your computer screen.

‘Computer screen’ can be substituted with other forms of earning a living, such as taking a stall at a flea market, standing in the street asking people for their opinions, and so on.

But most people reading this eletter depend on computers for part or most of their income, hence the reason we need to work out how many hours are available to spend sitting at the computer screen before the kids need picking up from school, or a colleague begins tooting on the car horn telling you it’s time to leave home for the day job.

When you know what time you have until you’re needed elsewhere, you look for a task to fill those hours exactly and you don’t attempt a shorter or longer one.

Choose a task likely to last longer than your available time and it won’t get finished; choose too short a task and there’ll be unproductive time left over at the end.

Another few words to explain why I think this chunk working thing is such a good idea…

  • Most people over-estimate the amount of work they can accomplish in a specific period and end up with lots of half-finished tasks they intend to complete the following day. Then when time comes to finish those jobs it takes half an hour or more to review the work carried out the previous day before productive work can begin. That’s half an hour wasted just because a task over-ran its allotted time.
  • A good many of us, myself most definitely included, spend half an hour at least deciding how best to fill the working day ahead. Should we write a long article to drive traffic to an affiliate promotion? Or maybe we could visit a couple of wholesalers looking for two or three new products to test-market on eBay and Amazon? Or hundreds of other jobs besides, if my experience is anything to go by. That’s another half an hour and probably a good deal more wasted. All because you didn’t work in chunks!
    How much better, then, to create a list of tasks you know will take half an hour each to accomplish; or an hour, two hours – all day if you like!

Get started by timing every different task you complete from today onwards. At the end of each working period, you note down the task or tasks and time taken to accomplish them.

Then once you know it takes two hours to create an article driving traffic to a Clickbank promotion, you don’t start that article when there’s just half an hour to go before the kids get back from school, and you don’t attempt writing the article when you have three hours to kill.

Get your sums right and at the start of each work session you simply glance through your list of tasks, looking for any matching the time you have available! Then you start and finish the task all in one go!

Simple really – possibly too simple – but according to my colleague it works every time.

Save money in your eBay business: share a car, cut costs and increase your bottom line

This idea involves looking for two or three other people to share a vehicle and travelling costs on product-sourcing expeditions. Your target audience should live in your locality and visit your own preferred buying venues, and they should be collectors, not dealers, because dealers won’t help you cut your overheads and steal their buying secrets.

Collectors are not a threat to you and they do not represent competition for your business.

Personal experience suggests that 20 or more collectors living close by are travelling to my most popular buying venues, sometimes making the same journey several times a month.

Most of those people are travelling alone in their own vehicles, while one or two might use public transport or share a vehicle and divvy up on expenses.

You are looking for people to travel together and share the cost of fuel and tolls, parking fees and other motoring expenses.

This way you cut your overheads and grow your bottom line.

But you don’t want to be the driver yourself, because you need your wits about you on buying expeditions and you don’t want to arrive at the venue tired and let others beat you to the best early pickings!

It could take weeks or a couple of months to learn who your potential vehicle sharing partners are, but the savings are always worthwhile.

A big problem facing eBay trading assistants – and an easy solution

One of the easiest ways to make money on eBay is by selling items belonging to other people, individuals or businesses.

It’s called being a trading assistant, but like most good things, the process is not without problems: like when someone refuses to part with their goods after the sale takes place, or you find goods you listed in good faith turn out to be stolen.

That is why a trading assistant must always take possession of whatever is being sold, mainly to prevent the owner losing or breaking the item and to help the trading assistant describe goods properly, take pictures, answer questions, and so on.

But how do you get people to part with their valuable items?

It’s much easier than it sounds: the process is no different to thousands of people parting with their goods for offline auction houses to describe and sell those products locally, nationally, even internationally, both on and off the Internet.

But it’s much more difficult for solitary, inexperienced newcomers to take possession of valuable items this way, especially new eBayers lacking feedback or experience of auction selling.

So it’s a good idea to build feedback and reputation before offering yourself up to sell other people’s goods on commission. You do it by purchasing lots of cheap items on eBay and getting sellers to leave feedback right away. You might also sell items for family and friends and build feedback that way.

With 200–300 positive feedback points, all but the most sceptical product owners will trust you with their goods.

Mission accomplished and now you spend your entire working day making money on eBay without ever needing products of your own to sell.

This article first appeared on Auction Genie. Read more and comment here